THE HINDU EDITORIAL : JULY 24, 2018
THE HINDU EDITORIAL – July 24, 2018 is one of the must read for the competitive exams like SBI PO Mains , SBI CLERK Mains Exam, BOB PO Manipal Online Exam. These topics are widely expected to be asked in the reading comprehension , Cloze Test or in Error Detection topics in the forthcoming exams. So gear up for your Exam preparation and learn new words daily.
a) A difficult poll: on Pakistan election
The curtains came down on Pakistan’s election campaign on Monday, ahead of voting on Wednesday. It brought to an end a bitter political fight bloodied by brutal terror attacks, and darkened by the lengthening shadow of the military and judicial establishment. For more than 100 million eligible voters in Pakistan, the responsibility of upholding democracy hangs heavy. They have braved election rallies as terror groups killed dozens of leaders and supporters indiscriminately. Even as the month-long campaign came to a close, a candidate of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was killed in Dera Ismail Khan in a suicide bombing, while another’s convoy was attacked in Bannu. Earlier this month, over 145 people were killed at a rally in one single attack in Balochistan, while a suicide bomb attack in Peshawar killed the popular leader of the Awami National Party, Haroon Bilour. The choice before voters has also narrowed: former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and several others have been disqualified from the election process on corruption charges, a move that is seen not so much as the outcome of the natural process of justice but of the growing civil-military divide. Polls put PTI chief and former cricketer Imran Khan slightly ahead of Mr. Sharif’s successor at the helm of the Pakistan Muslim League (N), his brother Shahbaz Sharif — but Mr. Khan also faces an embarrassing controversy on account of his former wife’s tell-all book that portrays him as unstable and dissolute. There were some worries that even the third contender, Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto and his father, former President Asif Ali Zardari, could be disqualified over electoral misdemeanours. The mood ahead of the elections has been further vitiated by the rise of extremist and sectarian parties, including one led by 26/11 Mumbai attacks mastermind Hafiz Saeed. These groups may ultimately not fare well in terms of seats, but they have spread pro-jihadi, anti-minority poison through Pakistan’s polity that no political party has dared to contest. The daunting task for the voter is to elect federal and provincial governments that will deal with the big challenges ahead: to steady an economy being crushed by debt to China and by UN financial strictures, to battle growing divides in society and the overwhelming influence of terror groups, to re-establish disrupted ties with neighbours, and to stave off the increasing military influence in the small space that the civilian leadership had been able to establish for itself. It is doubtful that Pakistan has a candidate or party that can hope to do any, let alone all of the above. The voter must also make her choice under unusual restrictions on the media. Yet, the one reason to celebrate these elections is that they are happening at all, marking only the second civilian-to-civilian electoral transfer in Pakistan’s history.
b) Stimulus mode: on GST rate cuts
Unveiling a mini-Budget of sorts in the middle of the financial year, the Goods and Services Tax Council has announced a reduction in the tax rates for over 85 goods. The applicable indirect tax rates on consumer durables such as television sets, washing machines and refrigerators, along with a dozen other products, have been slashed from 28% to 18%. The tax rate on environmentally friendly fuel cell vehicles has been reduced from 28% to 12%, and the compensation cess levied on them dropped. This leaves just about 35 products, including tobacco, automobiles and cement, in the highest tax slab of the GST structure. Rakhis without semi-precious stones, as well as sanitary napkins that attracted 12% GST, have been exempted from the tax altogether. Several other products have been placed in lower tax slabs, including those from employment-intensive sectors such as carpets and handicrafts. On the services front, too, there are important tweaks and clarifications. Overall, industry and consumers may consider these rate cuts, largely on products and services of mass use, as a stimulus to drive consumption ahead of the festive season. It is also a sign that the government has begun the groundwork to woo voters ahead of State and parliamentary elections. Whichever way one looks at it, the GST Council’s 28th meeting has significantly altered the course of the nearly 13-month-old tax regime. Given that GST rates on more than 200 items were already tweaked in past meetings, the original rate structure has been upended to a great extent. The actual impact of these changes on product prices and consumption demand will be visible soon, but the government’s confidence in such a rate reduction gambit indicates it is now comfortable with revenue yields from the GST. Estimates of revenue losses from these rate cuts vary widely, but it’s too early to fret about the impact on macro fiscal numbers. If implemented well, the revenue lost could be offset by higher consumption that may lead to more investments over time. Moreover, improvements in compliance can be expected from the Council’s decision to further simplify paperwork for small and medium enterprises. But there are two major concerns. First, since the new rates are to kick in from July 27, companies may not have enough time to rework pricing strategies and replace existing market inventory, failing which they could face anti-profiteering action. Second, members of the Council have for the first time questioned its functioning and alleged that not all of the changes and rate cuts were placed on the agenda. For a tricky tax that is still a work in progress, distrust between the Centre and the States would make further rationalisation difficult. Such friction must be avoided in a system in which the States have so far worked in tandem with the Centre.
Meaning: A disastrous outcome.
Example: “it looked like curtains for me”
Meaning: (of a conflict, argument, or opponent) full of anger and acrimony.
Example: “a bitter five-year legal battle”
Synonyms: Virulent, Angry
Meaning: Cover or stain with blood.
Example: “he ended the fight with his face bloodied and battered”
Meaning: Savagely violent.
Example: “a brutal murder”
Synonyms: Savage, Vicious
Antonyms: Gentle, Humane
Meaning: Maintain (a custom or practice).
Example: “they uphold a tradition of not causing distress to living creatures”
Synonyms: Maintain, Sustain
Meaning: In a random manner; unsystematically.
Example: “his armies slaughtered men, women, and children indiscriminately”
Synonyms: Randomly, Aimlessly
Antonyms: Selectively, Systematically
Meaning: A group of ships or vehicles travelling together, typically one accompanied by armed troops, warships, or other vehicles for protection.
Example: “a convoy of lorries”
Synonyms: Group, Fleet
Meaning: A position of leadership.
Example: “the chairman is to step down after four years at the helm”
Synonyms: Responsible, Leading
Meaning: Causing embarrassment.
Example: “an embarrassing muddle”
Synonyms: Shameful, Humiliating
Meaning: (of a person or a way of life) overindulging in sensual pleasures.
Example: “unfortunately, his heir was feckless and dissolute”
Synonyms: Dissipated, Debauched
Meaning: A Person or group competing with others to achieve something.
Example: “a presidential contender”
Meaning: A minor wrongdoing.
Example: “the player can expect a suspension for his latest misdemeanour”
Synonyms: Wrongdoing, Crime
Meaning: Destroy or impair the legal validity of.
Example: “the insurance is vitiated because of foolish acts on the part of the tenant”
Meaning: A person with an outstanding intellect.
Example: “an eminent musical mastermind”
Synonyms: Genius, Mind
Meaning: A person involved in a jihad; an Islamic militant.
Example: “jihadi groups”
Meaning: Seeming difficult to deal with in prospect; intimidating.
Example: “a daunting task”
Synonyms: Formidable, Disconcerting
Meaning: Relating to or denoting the central government as distinguished from the separate units constituting a federation.
Example: “the health ministry has sole federal responsibility for health care”
Synonyms: Confederate, United
Meaning: Of or concerning a province of a country or empire.
Example: “provincial elections”
Synonyms: Rural, Outlying
Antonyms: National, Metropolitan
Meaning: very great in amount.
Example: “his party won overwhelming support”
Synonyms: Profuse, Enormous
Meaning: Interrupt (an event, activity, or process) by causing a disturbance or problem.
Example: “flooding disrupted rail services”
Synonyms: Derange, Disturb
Meaning: Of, relating to, or being a person who is not a member of the police, the armed forces, or a fire department.
Example: The civilian population.
Meaning: Show or announce publicly for the first time.
Example: “the Home Secretary has unveiled plans to crack down on crime”
Synonyms: Reveal, Present
Meaning: Reduce (a price, quantity, etc.) greatly.
Example: “the workforce has been slashed by 2,000”
Synonyms: Reduce, Drop
Antonyms: Raise, Create
Meaning: (in Scotland, Ireland, and India) a tax or levy.
Example: “a heavy cess on the reader’s attention”
Meaning: Free (a person or organization) from an obligation or liability imposed on others.
Example: “they were exempted from paying the tax”
Synonyms: Excuse, Free
Meaning: Involving a lot of effort or activity in a short period of time.
Example: June and July are a period of intensive activity for our company.
Meaning: A fine adjustment to a mechanism or system.
Example: “no tweaks were required”
Synonyms: Adjustment, Modification
Meaning: A thing that arouses activity or energy in someone or something; a spur or incentive.
Example: “if the tax were abolished, it would act as a stimulus to exports”
Synonyms: Spur, Stimulant
Antonyms: Deterrent, Discouragement
Meaning: Seek the favour, support, or custom of.
Example: “pop stars are being wooed by film companies eager to sign them up”
Synonyms: Pursue, Chase
Meaning: Set or turn (something) on its end or upside down.
Example: “she upended a can of soup over the portions”
Meaning: An act or remark that is calculated to gain an advantage, especially at the outset of a situation.
Example: “his resignation was a tactical gambit”
Synonyms: Scheme, Plan
Meaning: Cause anxiety to.
Example: “his absence during her times awake began to fret her”
Synonyms: Trouble, Concern
Meaning: The state or fact of according with or meeting rules or standards.
Example: “all imports of timber are in compliance with regulations”
Antonyms: Violation, Infringement
Meaning: Succeed in giving up.
Example: “I made a New Year resolution to kick the habit”
Synonyms: Break, Abandon
Meaning: Make or seek to make an excessive or unfair profit, especially illegally.
Example: “seven food merchants were charged with profiteering”
Synonyms: Overcharge, Racketeer
Meaning: A plan of things to be done or problems to be addressed.
Example: “he vowed to put jobs at the top of his agenda”
Synonyms: Schedule, Programme
Meaning: The feeling that someone or something cannot be relied upon.
Example: “the public’s distrust of politicians”
Synonyms: Mistrust, Suspicion
Meaning: The action of reorganizing a process or system so as to make it more logical and consistent.
Example: “the rationalization of accounting standards”
Meaning: Conflict or animosity caused by a clash of wills, temperaments, or opinions.
Example: “a considerable amount of friction between father and son”
Synonyms: Discord, Variance
Meaning: A group of two people or machines working together.
Example: “the Giants had the greatest pitching tandem in baseball history”
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